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JPMorgan May Pay $2 Billion to Resolve Madoff Probe, NYT Reports

JPMorgan Chase & Co. Headquarters in New York
JPMorgan Chase & Co. signage is displayed outside of the company's headquarters in New York. Photographer: Peter Foley/Bloomberg

Dec. 12 (Bloomberg) -- JPMorgan Chase & Co. may pay about $2 billion to resolve U.S. probes into whether the bank ignored signs of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, the New York Times reported, citing unidentified people briefed on the matter.

The firm is close to a deal that includes a deferred prosecution agreement and more than $1 billion in penalties to resolve a criminal case, with remaining sanctions imposed by federal regulators investigating gaps in the company’s money-laundering safeguards, the newspaper said.

Bloomberg News reported in October that the company was in settlement talks that may lead to a deferred prosecution agreement. In such deals, the government agrees not to prosecute for a specified period and dismisses charges if the entity improves its programs or complies with the law.

Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon, 57, is seeking to resolve government probes that have beset JPMorgan, while overhauling internal controls to improve relations with regulators. It’s among Wall Street firms that have spent years fighting off claims brought on behalf of Madoff’s victims, including accusations that the companies ignored the con man’s fraud to continue reaping fees.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has been investigating how New York-based JPMorgan, the biggest U.S. bank by assets, handled funds controlled by Madoff and whether the firm turned a blind eye to his multibillion-dollar fraud, the biggest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history.

Joseph Evangelisti, a JPMorgan spokesman, declined to comment on the settlement talks.

The bank listed at least eight Justice Department probes in a quarterly filing last month, ranging from the Madoff inquiry to investigations of hirings in Asia and its energy-trading practices. Weeks later, the firm agreed to a record $13 billion settlement to end government investigations of its mortgage-bond sales.

To contact the reporter on this story: David Scheer in New York at dscheer@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Eichenbaum at peichenbaum@bloomberg.net

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